Egghead, by Claire Scott

The school bus screeched to a shuddering halt in a cloud of exhaust fumes. Jackal jumped off as I mooched past, and punched me on the arm.
‘Mate.’ We have the best conversations, Jackal and me. We were swept through the school gates in a swarm of loud stinky bodies, and shuffled reluctantly into the classroom just as the bell rang.

It’s not quite clear what subject Mr Farnham teaches, but it is clear that he has the measure of his class. They report boredom with homework and declare their maturity. He devises an experiment to test them. For a week, they will be caretaker/parent/protector of a raw egg. The egg will go everywhere with them. Failure to protect the egg means a fail for the experiment. Paddy, ably (well, sometimes) assisted by his friend Jackal, navigates his way through the week. Others are not so lucky, with mishaps and carelessness leading to the early ‘demise’ of some eggs. Paddy cooks up some money-making schemes, repeatedly encounters the school bully, protects his egg from his baby brother and unexpectedly bonds with his charge.

Egghead is a new title in Walker Books ‘Lightning Strikes’ series, short texts for reluctant 11-13 yo readers. Chapters are short, plots move (excuse the pun) lightning fast. Subject matter is relevant and interesting to the age group and beyond. ‘Egghead’ is told in first person, and includes about as many egg-related puns as possible (eggstermination, eggcitement), although no doubt readers will be inspired to create more. Paddy is a larrikin main character with a likeable, somewhat goofy sidekick in Jackal. But there’s more to Egghead than just fun. The adults, although shown from a teenager’s point of view, are portrayed sympathetically. Paddy learns about responsibility and in the end this helps him find a way to face down a bully. Recommended for upper-primary to lower-secondary readers, particularly those finding longer texts too daunting.

Egghead, Clare Scott
Walker Books 2008
ISBN: 9781921150814

The Great Shave, by Clare Scott

It’s the first day back at school and I’m so going to get it from everyone. That means teachers too. Why? Because of my still-green hair, that’s why.
The colour’s maybe gone down a shade or three, but it’s still green as green. The powers-that-be at school will be as understanding as the powers-to-be at home.

Stix and his mates think it’s a great idea to temporarily dye their hair green when they go to watch their favourite band, the Screaming Greenie Meanies. But when Stix tries to wash the green out after the concert, he is in for a shock. The green will just not wash out. When school goes back, Stix knows he is in for a hard time, but when the Principal insists the green hair go, Stix discovers there is something worse than green hair – a green, hairless scalp.

The Great Shave is a humorous story for upper primary aged readers, part of the Lightning Strikes series from Walker Books. With action, laughs and an appealing length, it is accessible for reluctant readers, but high enough in interest for readers of all abilities.

As Stix discovers the highs and lows of having a green head, readers will be engaged and entertained.

The Great Shave, by Clare Scott
Walker Books, 2008